Paloma Elsesser’s stylish weekend on Fire Island
With her bag full of perfect summer looks, the model and writer escaped New York City for a chic – and quick! – getaway.
Overwhelmed by the heat, humidity and crowds of the city? The escape is just a two-hour train ride and a short ferry trip away.
Fire Island is both closer and more laid-back than the Hamptons, but its beaches are just as beautiful. The narrow barrier island lies parallel to the south shore of Long Island, and is made up of 17 communities – each one with their own personality. Many of them have been a haven to the LGBTQ community, and are still a dear vacation spot. Creative New Yorkers (including fashion royalty like Calvin Klein and Michael Kors) have come here for years to unwind and recharge.
The island’s history is ever-present through its friendliness, inclusiveness and slightly bohemian vibe.
”Fire Island has this utopian feel to it. People are allowed to express who they are without restrictions. I like that a lot,” said Paloma Elsesser the first day she set foot on the island. ”I have a lot of friends from Long Island, but I’ve never been to Fire Island. I already love it, though!”
The Los Angeles native moved to New York to combine modelling with studies in psychology and journalism, but as her career as a model took off, she decided to take a break in her studies. She still writes, however. Poetry is one way of expressing her voice; Instagram is another.
”As a human – and as a model – it is important to me to have a voice. [I use my voice] to show who I am, to be politically involved, to be vulnerable.”
Fire Island feels like your hidden secret – like you are the first person here.
Even as a self-proclaimed city girl, it took Paloma Elsesser no time to fall in love with Fire Island’s pristine beaches.
”I love the stillness here, it is just so peaceful. And there are no cars! Fire Island feels like your hidden secret – like you are the first person here. If you have something you need to do, something you need to write, this is the place,” said Paloma, perfectly explaining why Fire Island always has been a go-to place for artists and writers.
People don’t only come to Fire Island to find peace and serenity, however. Long days at the beach easily transcend into never-ending nights of partying in Kismet, Ocean Beach, Cherry Grove or The Pines.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SUMMER?
”I love that summer is so adventurous. Even if work doesn’t stop, summer is like an open book. You walk around, you run into people – it’s an overall lighter feeling, like the possibilities are endless.”
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE GO-TOS THIS SUMMER?
”I am not usually a dress person, but I always pack a lot of dresses when I go on vacation. They are like a fashion loophole – you just put on a dress and then you’re done. I also love crop tops and structured skirts, especially matching sets.”
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
”I just want to continue to carve out a space where I can show girls that they are worthy and that they are heard. I want girls to see me and believe that they are capable too.”
A GUIDE TO FIRE ISLAND
HOW TO GET HERE
Take the LIRR from NYC’s Penn Station to Bay Shore, Patchogue or Sayville. Those stations are all close to mainland ferry terminals that will take you to Fire Island. If you get off at Sayville or Bay Shore, you might want to take a taxi or a shuttle to the ferry terminal.
WHAT TO PACK
”I always bring slip dresses, they are so easy to style,” says Paloma Elsesser. ”Just add some lipstick and fun earrings and you’re ready for a night out. And I pack a lot of matching tops and bottoms – you don’t want to be stressed out on your vacation!”
WHAT TO EAT
Seafood is obviously the specialty – often served fried. Ocean Beach is the main community on Fire Island, and the place where you’ll find most options. Maguire’s is a classic. If you’re craving sushi, try Surf’s Out in Kismet.
WHERE TO PONDER
All beaches on Fire Island are perfect for pondering. Weekends can be busy in high-season – come on weekdays to really experience the tranquillity. If you want to avoid the crowds of day trippers, try Fair Harbour – one of the more low-key areas.
WHERE TO DANCE
Fire Island Pines, Kismet and Cherry Grove are said to host the most vibrant nightlife. If you’re in the mood for bar-hopping, Ocean Beach has the most options.
LIVES: New York City
Click here to see what went down last week when Icona Pop explored Gotland.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Sandra Semburg
STYLIST: Daniel Edley | Brydges Mackinney
HAIR AND MAKEUP: Stoj | Streeters
MODEL: Paloma Elsesser | Muse